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Library Programs

Library Programs

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  • Aleph Library Program - Religious books are expensive and our program understands that prisoners have very little or no money and cannot afford them. The Aleph Institute's library allows prisoners access to these texts for religious studies once they have been approved by the Rabbis.
  • Books and Religious Materials Program - The Books and Religious Materials program is similar to the Aleph Library program in the sense that religious texts are provided to the inmates for religious studies. The difference in these two programs is that the texts are completely free and distributed en masse.
    Download Application for Jewish Books and Religious Material.
    Download Jewish Books & Ritual Items Application Form for Chaplains.

About the Library:

On the third floor of the Aleph Institute sits a library with thousands of volumes of Jewish books, audio tapes, and video tapes. These volumes are there for the use of the Rabbis and volunteers who counsel and support the Jewish men and women in prison and their families. They're also a resource for the Jewish inmates who do not have access to any Jewish reading material.

For many years, these books were transported to the institutions by the Rabbis, who would take the books on loan to the inmates and return them after their next visit. This system worked well for a while. Unfortunately, due to security issues of contraband being brought into the institutions, the state halted this process and the Jewish inmates were, once again, disconnected from any library of Jewish material.

The Rabbis do bring in religious material, but for many reasons, that is a very limited option. We were forced to think of a solution to this challenge.

A great option was to join the inter-library exchange. Each institution (prison) is required to have a library, and given the limited funds of the institution library and the limited space, these libraries benefit from an inter-library exchange, where inmates can request books in other libraries. There are hundreds of libraries in the state, and catalogs are all online.

The benefits of this library are many. Inmates are responsible for the books. The books, as they are loaned through the library, end up being returned, and although the loaning process takes a while, it is a proven system and works well.

And so the Aleph Institute Library, located on the third floor at the Aleph Institute, is now a member of the Inter-Library Exchange. The books have all been catalogued and are ready for borrowers. 

The library is divided into three collections, linked below. 
Explore our collections:  Collection A Collection B  and  Collection C

Hundreds of hours of work have been performed by Dr. Lee Sonis, who created a library from of a room of books.

Rabbi Moishe Mayir Vogel, at a recent meeting of Rabbis who visit the prisons, announced this project and stated that this falls in line with the work of Aleph Institute, ensuring that "No One is Alone and No One is Forgotten." Education and training are key to ensuring productivity as an inmate begins life anew.

For more information or to volunteer, please contact the Aleph Institute. To maintain this library, it is going to require many hours per week. If you have library experience, would like to volunteer, or know of someone who would like to volunteer, please contact The Aleph Institute at (412) 421-0111 x100 or via email at  receptionist@alephne.org.


Library Wishlist:
Request items you'd like to see in our library.

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